Tia, today our teacher spoke to us about putting others first before our own needs. Thats very nice! Tell me something Tia even if it makes them unhappy do people put others before their own needs? Some people who have a really nice heart do. I remember the story of the Happy Prince. Do you want to hear it Tofu? Yes! Once upon a time a beautiful golden statue of the most beautiful smiling prince stood in the town centre. It was covered with gold leaves and had eyes made of blue sapphire. It had a huge red ruby on the hilt of its sword. Everyone, who ever saw the Happy Prince, fell in love with it. The baker whose flour had just fallen on the floor saw it and said Oh, Happy Prince I wish I could always be happy like him. From now on I will. The schoolgirl whose mother wouldn’t buy her ice cream saw the Happy Prince and said Oh, the Happy Prince I wish I could always be like him. From now on I will At the same time in the forest near the city a Swallow asked his new bride. My love, all our friends have left for Egypt for the winters. There they will see the Pharoahs palace and bask in the sun in the royal gardens. They will enjoy many fruits and berries of different kinds. We must join them there. But his bride just nodded her head to say no. We will come back after the winters. You must let go of your attachment with this home and dwelling. bride again noddes no You are being foolish my new bride. But I must go. My friends wait for me. And so the swallow flies away. After a whole day of flying he is half way through the Happy Prince’s city and then begins to feel tired. I think I will rest the night here. And start again for Egypt tomorrow. This golden statue is very beautiful I will rest between his feet. Just as the swallow was about to sleep a large drop of water fell on him. What? what this come from? The sky is clear. Just as the swallow was getting ready to sleep again another large drop of water fell on him. When he looked up he saw that the Prince was crying. Who are you? I am the Happy Prince. Why are you crying then? I lived in the city palace once. I was always happy. I had no reason to be sad because I knew my people were happy too. When I died, they made a golden statue of me and put me here. From here I can see the sadness of my people and my heart though it is made of lead, feels sad. What do you see, Oh golden Prince? Far away I can see a seamstress her fingers are red and bloody from endless stitching. Next to her on a bed is a little boy. He is sick with fever and is crying out for oranges. But the seamstress doesn’t have anything other than river water to give him. Oh, swallow, take the ruby from my sword and give it to her. No, no! I have to go to Egypt I cannot stay! If I go to the seamstress’s house I won’t be able to reach Egypt. Please, swallow. The child is very thirsty. well Okay, I will go. So the swallow took the ruby from the hilt of the Prince’s sword and flew to the seamstress’s house. By the time he got there, the tired seamstress had fallen asleep on her working table. So the swallow kept the ruby on the table. Then he flew around the sick boy’s bed flapping his wings. I feel so much cooler. I think I must be getting better. By the time the swallow returned it was the next night. I will now go to Egypt. But the Prince was crying again. I can see a hard working man filled with despair. He is a writer and must finish his next play soon. But he is tired because he has no food to eat. Wont you stay another night and help that man? Okay! One night it is. Should I take another ruby to him? Alas! I have no ruby to give him now. But my eyes are made of sapphire. Take one of my eyes. No, no! I cannot do that! But I order you to do so. And so the swallow plucked out the Prince’s eye. And flew away to the writer’s house. By the time he reached there the writer had fainted out of hunger and cold. The kind swallow put the sapphire on the writer’s desk and collected dry twigs and lit a fire for the writer before he flew back to the Prince. When he returned to the prince it was the next night again. And once again, the Prince was tearful. What is wrong Prince? In the square, I can see a match-girl crying. All her matches have fallen in to the gutter and got spoilt. No one will buy them now. She is afraid her father will be very angry when she goes home without any money. please swallow. Take my other eye and give it to her No, no! I cannot do that! You will become blind! But I order you to do so. And so the swallow plucked out the Prince’s other eye and took it to the little girl. The girl became very happy when she saw the stone and went home skipping. The swallow returned to the Prince. Now you can go to Egypt, my friend. No, now I cannot go my friend. I will stay here and become your eyes. So the swallow stayed by the Prince. Ever day he would fly over the city and tell the Prince the sorry tales he saw. The Prince would then tell the swallow to pluck out a gold leaf from his body and give it to the poor people of his city. Soon there were no leaves left on the body of the Prince. All that was left was his cold grey body. It kept getting colder as the winters kept setting in and the weather kept getting chillier. The swallow knew that he will not survive the season much longer. My friend, it is time for me to go. Finally! You going to Egypt? Not Egypt but towards death. Isn’t it like sleep after all? But before I go, can I kiss you? I will once again be sad without you. Kiss me before you go. And so the frail swallow kissed the prince and feel at his feet, dead. Suddenly there was a loud sound like a crack. It was the sound of the breaking of the Prince’s lead heart. In the morning, the mayor of the city crossed the statue. What an ugly statue. And it has a dead bird at its feet too! Break it down immediately and put up my statue instead. A few hours later, when the mayor’s men broke the statue apart they found the two pieces of the Prince’s heart And they threw it into the bin next to the dead swallow. That’s when God said to his angels. Bring me the most precious two things in the world. And they took the dead swallow and the Prince’s broken heart to God. Well chosen my angels. From now on the Swallow will sing in my heaven and the Prince will praise my ways. So you see Tofu. Even if you forgo some happiness by putting others before you there are always better things waiting for you. Yes, Tia! Now I understand what my teacher was talking about.